Archives For Encouragement

As part of my blog change, I am posting more as a travelogue, including thins the Lord is teaching me and encouraging me in the journey.  This year, one of the things I am focusing more on are the promises of Jesus.  I hope to share more of these as the days go by.

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”
John 6:37

We all know that promises are only as good as the ability of the person making them is in keeping them.   In Jesus, we have come to know that all the promises of God find their “yes” and “amen” (2 Cor. 1:20).  I don’t know about you, but I want my days to be infiltrated with divine confirmation of all that Jesus is for me in every aspect of my life.  I want my identity, purpose, and treasure to be shaped by promises kept and fulfilled in Jesus.

Jesus says, “I will never cast out.”  Never. To whom? Whoever comes. That’s not a coming once, but a coming again and again and again. And with each coming, we are promised never to be rejected.  Jesus is more ready to welcome than we are willing to come.  Should not the promise of never being turned away motivate us to come all the more?! The promise should melt our hearts and move our faith to flee to Jesus! Pity the Christian who believes not this promise and never avails himself to the beckoning call and welcoming embrace of Jesus. Not the righteous, not the righteous, but sinners Jesus came to call.  And lest we forget, the only thing that He requires is that we feel our need of Him.

Believe the promise of Jesus today.  Make haste with swift feet to the strong embrace of our Savior whose promises never fail.

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and pow’r.

Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.

Come, ye weary, heavy-laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.

View Him prostrate in the garden;
On the ground your Maker lies;
On the bloody tree behold Him;
Sinner, will this not suffice?

Lo! th’ incarnate God ascended,
Pleads the merit of His blood:
Venture on Him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Not of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
Oh, there are ten thousand charms.

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One of the most encouraging and challenging messages I heard while in Louisville during Together for the Gospel was the 10 minute talk by Ligon Duncan where he answered the question, “If you, an experienced pastor, had 10 minutes to exhort 200 of the next generation of ministers what would you say to them?”  His answer was laid out in the following six exhortations:

1. Preach the Word

“J.I. Packer says that for those of us who are conservative, evangelical Protestants, when we are faithfully preaching the Word of God, the Word is delivering God’s message through us to His people. It is not that we are delivering the Word of God to His people, it is that His Word is delivering through us His Word to His people.”

2. Love your people

“You cannot reform what you do not love . . . your people will receive even your rebuke when they know that you love them. But if they catch a whiff of your distance, detachment or cynicism they will not bear the wounds of a friend that you must deliver if you are going to be a faithful pastor. You must love your people passionately.”

3. Pray down heaven

“A young woman met me at the door of the church at the end of Sunday morning worship services with tears in her eyes and she said, ‘Dr. Duncan, what was it that he did (pastor Derek Thomas) in the middle of the service?’ I started going back over the order of service and it occurred to me that he prayed a lengthy, biblical pastoral prayer,” Duncan said. “I said ‘do you mean the prayer?’ ‘Yes, that thing’ she said. ‘What was that?’ I said ‘are you from a Christian background?’ ‘O, yes,’ she said. ‘Have you grown up going to church?’ I asked. ‘O, yes: my father is a pastor,’ she said. She grew up in church. But she had never heard a pastor assail the gates of heaven in prayer for his people.”

4. Promote family religion

“Did you know that Calvin and many of the Reformers wanted daily preaching?  After 50 or 60 years or so it became apparent that there was not going to be daily preaching regularly attended in Protestant churches so Matthew Henry and others recognized that they had to make every home a local church. If we do not family religion it will contradict what happens every Lord’s Day as you preach the Word.”

5. Equip your elders

“Whoever the shepherds are in your local congregation, you must pour your lives into them. Every follower of Jesus Christ in the local church is to be one who not only follows Jesus Christ herself or himself, but calls others to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. You must have a group of godly, qualified male elders, or shepherds, nurturing and admonishing that congregation, discipling alongside of the public ministry of the Word on the Lord’s Day.”

6. Live a godly life

“Robert Murray McCheyne said, ‘my people’s greatest need is my own holiness.’ We will contradict what we say from the pulpit if our lives do not bear it out. The Gospel cannot be preached wordlessly, but it can be contradicted wordlessly. Our lives can contradict what we speak.”

HT: Towers

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Andrew and Carolyn, who are two of the several hundred readers taking up the Puritan Reading Challenge, recently wrote of the joys and challenges that come from reading the Puritans. Their most recent post was a very enjoyable read, and I thought I’d provide an excerpt. Here’s what they said regarding getting the most out of the Puritans:

I am enjoying food for my soul unlike anything else I have ever read. I am literally finding that my heart is soaring with some of the truths outlined, and then is promptly being broken by my own sense of sin and smallness. These were men who knew their God, and knew God’s people; men who brought God’s Word home with force, conviction, clarity, and gravity. As such sitting with a highlighter and marking out sections which might be good for a blog series feels a little like fumbling in my rucksack for a camera, while the sun sinks behind a hill. My decision is to enjoy the view, and let God speak to me in the way He wants through these works, without marring the majesty of what I am learning by constantly being concerned about passing it on. My thoughts on these works are at best a monochrome study in the multicoloured glory of God’s grace anyway.

Reading your comments at the end of each month and checking out the blogposts from those of you in the blogosphere has been immensely encouraging for me. PRC has put a lot of demands on me personally, but the joy I get from seeing how this is benefiting folks is worth all the effort.

As The Godly Man’s Picture by Thomas Watson is now getting in full swing, I look forward to learning together and growing together in the pursuit of godliness.

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Panting in Matthew 2-4

Tim Brister —  February 5, 2008 — 2 Comments

A panting on Jesus’ opposition in Matthew 2-4.

King of kings and Lord of lords,

You came to us as the Prince of peace,
but your entrance was declaration of war
against all principalities and powers.
Indeed, you are our peace,
who breaks down the wall of hostility
through your death on the cross.
And yet, such peace was troubling to your kinsmen
and a threat to your rulers.

The kings of the earth, yea Herod,
sought to destroy you by putting you to death,
yet even the king’s decree cannot overcome the promises of God,
for out of Egypt you have been called God’s Son.
You are the true King of the Jews.

The religious rulers, yea Pharisees and Saducees,
sought to accuse you as a lawbreaker and blasphemer,
yet you came to full the law in perfect righteousness
as determined by the purposes of God,
for with your righteousness we stand clothed and clean.
You are the true great High Priest.

The god of this world, Satan himself,
sought to do unto you as he did with the first Adam,
leading you away through temptation.
Yet by the Spirit of God and the Word of God,
you overcame the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life
as the second Adam, Son of God and Son of Man.
You are the true prophet of God.

Lord Jesus,
Herod intended to kill you,
religious leaders wanted to destroy you,
and Satan came to dethrone you.
Indeed, your life on this earth is no small thing.
I praise you who is faithful to the promises of God
and true to the purposes of God,
entering history as prophet, priest, and king.

You are Lord of heaven and earth,
ruler of all nations,
enthroned as king of the earth.
Help me to feel the weight of your majesty
as my humble and yet conquering king,
to rest in your trustworthiness as righteous in all your ways,
to glory in Your greatness with gospel exultation.
May I be useful to rescue many from the evil one,
that they may rejoice with me as your kingdom comes.

– TNB

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Panting in Matthew 1

Tim Brister —  January 4, 2008 — 6 Comments

A panting on the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1.

Heavenly Father,

You have purposed your plan of redemption before time,
and in its fullness sent the full expression of your nature in sending your Son, Jesus Christ into the world.

Out of such fullness you came to give abundant life to those dead in transgressions,
freedom to those held in the bondage of iniquity,
healing to those whose hearts are corrupted by the cancer of sin.

Jesus is the heavenly man,
fully divine,
infinite in beauty,
worthy of all glory, honor and praise.

Jesus is the earthly man,
fully human,
born of a virgin,
descended from a people who
have failed to obey your Word,
believe your promises,
and honor you in consecrated lives of devotion and worship.

And yet Jesus, full of history and Lord of history came
as a Deliverer, to rescue His people from their sins,
as a Conqueror, to bring victory over sin, death, and hell,
as a King, whose rule is abundantly gracious and robes entirely righteous.

Jesus, I thank you for the cross
which is my exodus, my deliverance from life in Egypt.

I thank you for your resurrection
which is my life, hope, and ultimate vindication.

I thank you for your ascension
for you reign as King of heaven and earth,
in whom all authority and power and dominion is given,
who executes perfectly your sovereign plan,
providing for your people every good and perfect thing,
protecting them form the accuser through the everlasting covenant
made with your precious blood which speaks for me.

You, the true Son of God, entered into history to redeem it,
for it is the story of your glory,
that all the promises of God be yes and amen,
that all the purposes of God be faithful and true,
that all the people of God be saved and satisfied forevermore.

Help me to believe this,
breathe it deep,
feel it strong,
preach it loud,
sing it sweet,
and live it all my days.

– TNB

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